Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Thursday, October 13, 2022
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has raised a glass and joined me for a meal — either at Cucina Di Pesce, Belcourt or Nomad…or all three! You became part of my family, and you helped me realize my dream of bringing the food and culture of my country to live here in NYC.After 33 years in this industry, I am taking a much-needed break to visit my family, regroup and plan my next chapter. This is not goodbye; more like stay tuned for what's next. As David Bowie once said, "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring."
I look forward to sharing my next adventure(s) with you soon.
In June 2020, writer Richard Morgan had this to say about the place: "Nomad radiates a defiant truth: It is the coolest, tastiest, truest restaurant that New York's galloping gourmands have no interest in letting anyone know about (if they themselves even know about it at all)."
Friday, September 25, 2020
[Nomad photo from June by Stacie Joy]
Nomad, a North African and Mediterranean restaurant in the East Village, shut down in March after the pandemic engulfed New York City, leaving its owner unable to pay the full $11,500 rent for months.After opening for outdoor dining in June, the owner, Mehenni Zebentout, has struggled to pay 70 to 80 percent of the rent. But he had to cut his staff from nine full-time employees to four part-time workers. And his landlord still wants Mr. Zebentout to pay what he owes from the spring.
"We're just hoping for some miracle," he said. "I believe, according to my experience, two out of three restaurants will close by December, and I'll be one of them if there's no help from the city or the government."
Friday, June 26, 2020
[Photo Tuesday by Stacie Joy]
Back on Monday, we noted that owner Mehenni Zebentout is now offering menu items from the now-closed Cucina di Pesce at Nomad, his restaurant at 78 Second Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.
On Tuesday, journalist Richard Morgan filed a long read on Nomad for Heated titled "This Algerian Restaurant Has Everything Diners Want."
Nomad is a highly visible yet under-appreciated gem along Second Avenue. Per Morgan:
Nomad is indeed a joyful dining paradox, offering the platonic ideal of a great night out to a city that refuses to acknowledge its existence in one of Manhattan’s most-trafficked neighborhoods. It is not just everything diners say they want — affordable, authentic, delicious, unique, romantic, and generally a resonant moment of redemptive gastrodiplomacy — but also everything food writers and editors say they know like the backs of their hands.
As Morgan points out, the restaurant has barely even registered among the city's food writers and restaurant blogs.
Even in the shadows of the glutterati’s attention, Nomad radiates a defiant truth: It is the coolest, tastiest, truest restaurant that New York’s galloping gourmands have no interest in letting anyone know about (if they themselves even know about it at all).
So what gives?
“I tell clients that what I can do is get people to have one meal at your place,” said a longtime restaurant publicist who requested anonymity in exchange for candor. “Even if Pete Wells writes about it — that Albanian place in the Bronx, that Sichuan place in Flushing — how busy are those places today? More than ever, restaurants have maybe six months from opening — operating on all cylinders, all the bells and whistles — to establish themselves in the conversation. Other than that — or even if they do accomplish that — they slip into the void of the forgotten. Nobody wants to eat in Siberia and that’s what these great restaurants end up serving: Siberian cuisine.”
You can read the full piece right here.